Review: Cestine – Level

Cestine - LevelLevel doesn’t sound composed so much as nurtured and directed. The drone flows of its own accord, with the duo of Dominic Coppola and Theodore Schaefer charged with directing the energy through various curves and inclines; teasing out buds of overtone and cultivating little capsules of withheld quiet and surges of urgent release, twisting the hum so that particular harmonies start to take precedence or leave. An impeccable balance is retained: somewhere between being limply carried by the currents and actively directing the flow of the water, holding a meditative equilibrium between control and its relinquishment. In this sense I interact with Level as though I’ve just woken up. I embrace sensation but my brain has not sufficiently roused to process it, stranding me within a flux of colours and outlines.

Even when the sound reaches a point of violence (such as in the spiral of ventilator noise and choir on “Grade”), it is still soft and somewhat pleasant: cotton wool projectiles, foams of saturating dissonance. Some voices even start to emerge during “Patiently”, and even though they remain muffled and tannoy-distorted, I am dragged into daydreams about all of the secrets that probably lay behind the veil of reverb – confessions and hidden intentions, fed back into themselves until the original message disappears amidst the myriad of overlays. It is billowing and shapeless like a pink-scented steam emanating from everywhere, with melody and instrument origin smooshed out of significance.